The Nashville Predators did a lot of things right in Games 3 & 4 on their way to evening up the Stanley Cup Final at 2. Nashville outscored Pittsburgh 9-2, Pekka Rinne got his groove back and they are frustrating the heck out of Evgeni Malkin right now. Add to that what the city and fans did and you get a very good recipe for success. The watch parties were insane and the crowd inside the building was awesome.
The Predators will now try to take some of those good vibes with them to Pittsburgh for Game 5 tonight. The Penguins will push back, they are the defending champions, so no one is expecting them to just go away. Nashville will need to keep doing the things that worked so well in those 2 home games. Winning the puck battles and countering with speed.
Just a few hours away from puck drop in Game 5!
Here are the 3 keys to the game:
Stay under Malkin’s skin. Evgeni Malkin has been wearing his frustration on his sleeve. These last two games especially. He seems way to preoccupied with Mattias Ekholm, P.K. Subban, and Colton Sissons right now. That is a good thing for the Preds. If they can keep his focus on them and off the game, that is one less weapon to worry about.
Four line attack. This has been key in the last two games. Ever since Peter Laviolette removed Vern Fiddler and Cody McLeod in favor of P.A. Parenteau and Harry Zolnierczyk Nashville’s attack has been very balanced. Not all four lines are producing points, but the constant pressure with speed is making it very hard on the Penguins defense for the entire game and seems to be wearing on them.
Pekka. Rinne must continue the form he has been in for the last two games to solve his woes in Pittsburgh. We have been saying all along that this team will go as far as Rinne will take them. If the Rinne that has played the whole playoffs minus Game 1 & 2 of this series shows up, we could all be very happy later tonight.
The game is in Pittsburgh, 7 pm CT start time on NBC.
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